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Mass. 8th-Graders Score Near Top On International Exam

BOSTON — Massachusetts eighth-graders are among the smartest in the world when it comes to math and science, according to a new study of academic performance.

The state’s eighth-graders ranked second in science and sixth in math, respectively, in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). More than half a million students from 63 countries participated in the test.

Only Singapore outscored the state’s eighth-graders on the science (PDF) part of the exam.

In the math section (PDF), Massachusetts students were outscored by test-takers from South Korea, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Hong Kong and Japan.

Massachusetts students made a 14-point gain in mathematics and an 11-point gain in science since the last time the test was administered in 2007.

Massachusetts students performed the best among several states that participated as individual entities. The U.S. as a whole was ninth overall in math and 10th overall in science.

In Massachusetts, male students scored slightly higher than females.

State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester called the results “remarkable.”

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press

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  • Laura

    SO happy to see that MA chose to participate on its own. As a Massachusetts teacher it has been frustrating to know that our students do score well compared with other countries, but often are lumped in with the entire country. While I do NOT believe that test scores are everything, they are often what gets the most attention in the headlines.

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